(Any mismatched photograph is entirely intentional. However, the content of the story still stands on its own.)
For stars, it seems, fortune favors the cannibal.
An international team of researchers has caught a star-turned-pulsar in the process of devouring its stellar neighbor, an act that accelerates its spin as it consumes more and more material.
The find, made using two space-based observatories, marks the first time astronomers have witnessed a pulsar speeding up it strips material from a companion star. [An animation of the process is available here via the European Space Agency (ESA).
Astronomers used the ESA’s Integral gamma-ray observatory and NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer to observe the pulsar. The research will appear in an upcoming issue of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Journal.